A national agreement to end exclusion |

In the current political and social context of Colombia, it is crucial to recognize the importance of building a national agreement that supports structural change initiatives and advances the goal of achieving a more just and equitable society. A national agreement is not only vital to consolidate governability, but also to effectively address the historical debts that the country has accumulated since before the enactment of the 1991 Constitution and after it came into effect, President Gustavo Petro appointed the new Minister of the Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo, as responsible for this task.

All social, political and economic expressions must participate in spaces for dialogue, which will make possible a new national agreement in order to overcome aspects that have undermined the country’s progress and which are related, among others, to four issues: political reform that recognizes the importance of the primary constituent and its sovereignty; the financing of public education, scientific and technological research; comprehensive agrarian reform; and the guarantee of universal rights. An agreement that must be carried out through various channels and at different levels, both territorial and political and social, and that must be consolidated and endorsed using constitutional mechanisms, which may include the convening of a National Constituent Assembly.

The National Constitution, the fruit of constituent power, especially that of students, and of the peace processes of the late 1980s, promised us the development of participatory democracy (direct democracy + representative democracy); however, direct democracy, the power of the constituent and the sovereignty that resides exclusively in the people, instead of being promoted or guaranteed, have been over-regulated, weakened and fragmented, losing their meaning as essential pillars for the construction of a more democratic, inclusive and fair society.

Direct democracy empowers citizens, increases their participation and ensures that decisions reflect their interests and needs. Constituent power, for its part, confers fundamental democratic legitimacy on political and legal structures, allowing for renewal and adaptation to new realities. Despite the challenges that both concepts may present, their correct implementation and development can positively transform the political and social life of a country like ours, immersed in phenomena such as corruption, drug trafficking, and an internal armed conflict that annually claims hundreds of lives.

Another of the fundamental pillars of the Constitution was the promise to progressively develop a robust public education system, with a strong research component and accessible to all Colombians. However, successive counter-reforms have stripped public education of more than 300 billion pesos, significantly eroding its quality and accessibility. This lack of funding not only undermines the improvement of the quality of teachers and the right to education in general, but also perpetuates social inequality and limits the opportunities for personal and professional development of millions of Colombians, which is quite regrettable in historical moments of globalization, the development of technologies for information technology and communications, and the so-called knowledge society.

Land reform, at the heart of social and political conflict, is another crucial aspect that the 1991 Constitution aimed to address decisively. However, counter-reforms have nullified the mechanisms necessary for its effective implementation. Equitable land distribution remains an unfulfilled promise, perpetuating inequality and violence in rural areas.

The concentration of land in the hands of a few landowners and its limited productive development have been persistent barriers to social justice and economic development in the Colombian countryside. According to the Truth Commission, land concentration is one of the structural factors of the Colombian conflict. A national agreement that supports the implementation of a genuine agrarian reform is essential to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development in rural areas.

The commodification of fundamental rights such as health, housing and social security has created significant barriers to their access, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of society. Constitution The law also sought to guarantee universal rights for all Colombians. However, these rights have been transformed into commodities that generate big business, moving away from their original purpose of guaranteeing human well-being. According to a report by the Ombudsman’s Office, thousands of Colombians have died due to a lack of timely medical care because of the barriers imposed by the system.

The Colombian Congress has failed to develop express orders of the Constitution in these 33 years. The organic law on territorial planning is still that of 1886, which demonstrates a lack of updating and adaptation to the contemporary needs of the country. justice reformthe political and electoral reform mandated by the 2016 Peace Agreement, for example, have yet to materialize, evidencing serious legislative negligence.

Gender equality also remains an outstanding debt. Despite legislative advances, women continue to face discrimination in various areas of society and the state. Ethnic, sexual and cultural minorities continue to be marginalized and discriminated against. Peace Agreement with the FARC-EP It has not been adequately implemented in crucial aspects such as the economic and social progress of the excluded territories. The incomplete implementation of this pact has limited Colombia’s progress towards a definitive and sustainable peace.

The climate crisis is another major challenge that requires territorial planning around water and the liberation of its spaces. Colombia, being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, faces serious threats due to climate change, which especially affect rural communities and strategic ecosystems. A national agreement on the implementation of sustainable environmental policies is essential to mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the country’s natural resources and use them appropriately.

Finally, the path to definitive peace is essential to heal the wounds of the armed conflict and build a more just and equitable society. National reconciliation requires a genuine commitment to truth, justice and reparation for all victims of the conflict. A national agreement that supports these efforts is crucial to move towards a more just, equitable and peaceful society, comprehensively addressing the historical and contemporary challenges facing the nation.

Luis Emil Sanabria Duran

 
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